November 8: Dunce Day. Salespeople don’t wear dunce caps, at least not on purpose. The dunce cap is named after a 13th-century philosopher, John Duns Scotus, born in Duns, Scotland. He believed this conical shaped hat increased learning potential using the theory that knowledge flows from the apex into the mind of the wearer. How can you be more like top salespeople? How do you avoid any “dunceness?” Here are some ideas to take off that dunce cap:
1. Listen more than you talk. It’s summed up clearly in what the Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
2. Invest in learning and development. Whether it’s workshops, teleseminars or utilizing coaches, top salespeople are lifelong learners who invest time, money and energy to excel. Introverts generally have fun with this and extroverts enjoy being with people of the same self-improvement interest.
3. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. Sales statistics about when a prospect buys are inverted: 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect; 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop; 12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop. Only 10% of sales people make more than three contacts, yet 80% of sales is made on the fifth to twelfth contact. Take off that dunce hat about follow-up.
4. Get in front of the real decision maker. If you determine you are talking with an influencer or end-user, work with them to both learn about as well as get their help to make an introduction of you to the decision-maker.
5. Know the competition. With the availability of information via the internet, there is no excuse not to research your competition. Remember: besides physical competitors, indecision, particularly during times of uncertainty, is a competitor worth your attention. Because introverts enjoy research, this could remove the dunce cap quickly.
6. Reject rejection. No one likes rejection for any reason! Recognize that rejection is part of the sales process. Let those feelings run a short course. Acknowledge it, then shift your self-talk and focus to the lesson, the humor in it, and view it as being one step closer to a new customer. Extroverts tend to be able to more quickly remove the rejection dunce hat.
7. Ask your prospect for a decision. Often salespeople find their prospect asking them, “So what’s next?” Whether a small business owner, independent professional or salesperson, your role is to get to the point with a prospect that if they don’t ask, you ask: “What do you want to do next?”
8. Keep in touch with clients. One of the strengths of an introvert is the deepness of relationships. Staying in touch with clients is as important as follow-ups with prospects.
9. Sell at your prospects buying level. As you get a strong foundational understanding of the selling and buying process, you’ll learn to read the signs of a prospects buying and decision making style. Pace their pace until you understand this before you lead with yours.
10. Have a measured sales system. Measure all that you can in the sales system to hone a perfect process for yourself: best pipeline filling activities; which follow-up actions work best; which networking groups or events are highest payoff for you, and the demographics of your best customers.
No salesperson wants to wear a dunce hat! If you are not selling at the level, consistency or even have the perfect clients you want, start at the sales strengths that you are fairly well skilled at, and then hone them. Then move to take the next dunce cap off and put the next best action you have in place. You can celebrate your de-duncing because your sales results will increase.
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